Groundhog Day: Phil ­predicts early spring

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Yesterday’s Groundhog Day provided good news for gardeners as the furry rodent predicted an early spring.

With thousands watching on Gobbler’s Knob in Pennsylvania, the groundhog, named Punxsutawney Phil, emerged from his lair yesterday but did not see his shadow.

Legend has it that if the groundhog sees his shadow on 2 February, winter will last six more weeks. But if he does not, spring will come early. At least that is what the Inner Circle says – the group that dons top hats and tuxedos on Groundhog Day each year to oversee the ceremony.

Inner Circle president Bill Deeley said that after “consulting” with Phil, he makes the call in deciphering what the world’s most famous groundhog has to say about the weather.